Communities – Creating positive social impact and business returns

Holcim recognizes that market-based solutions that address social issues will drive both business and societal benefits, creating shared value for all. Holcim’s 2030 aspiration is to improve the quality of life – in particular with regard to livelihoods and shelter – of 100 million people at the base of the wealth pyramid through inclusive business solutions and strategic social investments.

Inclusive business solutions approach social problems as business opportunities. By applying its core competencies and expertise, Holcim can improve the living conditions of low-income communities while extending access to its products, services, and solutions in ways that create mutual value.

To succeed, these initiatives must be profitable, strategic, address social needs, provide measurable benefits to the company, and drive product or service development. Examples include housing and sanitation solutions for low-income customers, micro-enterprises that market products and services relating to Holcim’s core business, and supplying Holcim facilities with goods and services.

Inclusive business initiatives are intended to complement and not to replace traditional CSR programs, as not all social needs can be addressed through market-based solutions. Strategic social investments remain crucial. They seek to improve people’s quality of life in a sustainable way by providing seed capital for activities and building capacity among community stakeholders. Social investment is considered strategic if it focuses on the needs of local communities, is implemented in close collaboration with stakeholders, and builds on core business knowledge and assets.

In 2014 Holcim Group companies invested over CHF 30 million in community engagement activities directly or indirectly benefitting several million people.

Close cooperation with local stakeholders is vital and builds mutual respect and trust. Holcim engages with stakeholders in a number of forums, including community advisory panels, formal dialog sessions, open door days, and local partnerships. To this end, all Holcim Group companies are encouraged to have a formal community engagement plan in place.